Today in Hidden Gems we are going to talk about one of France’s most famous and beloved singers who many have dubbed him “The French Frank Sinatra” and his name is Charles Aznavour.
Born as Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian on May 22, 1924, in Paris, France. His parents did many jobs to get by, but they had a love for music and the arts. Aznavour once said this about his parents:
“However my parents’ real interest and passion were the shows they produced with their immigrant friends for the diaspora. I grew up surrounded by so much love but with little means. Mischa and Knar were always happy and positive.”- Charles Aznavour
It was in 1944 he and actor Pierre Roche started to work together in the nightclub scene and from 1948-1950 they found success in Canada, during 1950 Charles Aznavour wrote his first song “J’ai Bu” It was here the duo split up, and Aznavour stated:
“I felt homesick but Pierre was happy to stay in Montreal. Back in France nobody knew who I was and I had to start all over again, but alone this time.”- Charles Aznavour
In 1956 was his breakout year, while doing shows in Casablanca, the people loved him and couldn’t get enough of him. Later in the same year at Olympia, he wrote “Sur Ma Vie” and three months later his career was established. Throughout the 1960’s he came out with so many songs about love and time passing by such as:
In 1972 he wrote a song that deals with homosexuality, in a very serious way and without disrespect and the song was “Comme ils disent” Aznavour stated:
“My entourage at the time advised against it since it could possibly damage my image. But I decided otherwise and took my chance because I felt strongly about this subject and I had to take a stand.” –Charles Aznavour
When Armenia had a horrible earthquake in 1988, he did everything he can to help Armenia to rebuild. In 1989 he wrote a song called “Pour toi Armenie” and donated all the proceeds and rights to help the people of Armenia. Till the day he died he continue to donate to help Armenia.
Sadly on October 1 2019 Charles Aznavour passed away at the age of 94, and was honored with a state funeral with both current presidents of France and Armenian. As they took him to his final resting place they played one of his song “Emmenez-Moi.”
If you have time listen to his work and if needed look for the translated lyrics for his music and you can see why he was called The French Frank Sinatra